Albania christened its newly-built Arena Kombëtare yesterday (Sunday) as its national football team fell to a 2-0 defeat to world champions France.

The Tirana venue has a capacity of 22,000 and was built at a cost of €75m (£64m/$83m). Work on the stadium began in the spring of 2016 and the ground has been built on the site of the former Stadiumi Qemal Stafa, which had a capacity of 20,000.

The stadium is officially called Air Albania Stadium through an agreement reached with the airline earlier in the month.

Goals from Antoine Griezmann and Corentin Tolisso secured the win for France, who had already qualified for next year’s Uefa European Championships. Albania knew they could not qualify going into the game, which attracted a capacity crowd of 22,000.

A test match between the Vllaznia and Apolonia women’s teams was held at the ground earlier in the month.

The stadium has been designed by Italian architect Marco Casamonti and its unique octagonal structure features a 25-storey tower in one corner. The tower is the largest structure of its kind in Tirana.

Image: FSHF